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DCS goes virtual due to staff quarantines

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

Dundee school shifts to distance learning for one week for staff shortage

DUNDEE — The Yates County Public Health (YCPH) informed Dundee Central School last week that one DCS staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member’s last day of work was Friday, Oct. 30. Per privacy guidelines, no additional identifying information can be shared. Abiding by N.Y.S. Dept. of Health quarantine requirements and guidelines, it was decided that additional DCS staff members needed to quarantine.

Superintendent Kelly Houck asserted that the decision to go to distance learning for one week was due solely to staff shortage caused by the quarantine, and not because of any widespread outbreak. Last week, nine members of school staff/faculty were placed in isolation or self-quarantine; three were members of one department which is critical to the operation of the school.

“The quarantining of these individuals absolutely impacts our ability to operate in-person, daily education opportunities for all students who attend classes at DCS,” said Houck. “This is a balancing act, and it isn’t balanced anymore.”

As of Monday, Yates County Public Health deputy Director Sara Christensen says 19 individuals (staff and students) were in quarantine, but 14 of those were to be released Tuesday, and one of the staff who was positive has now recovered.

Dundee began virtual instruction for all students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade Friday, Nov. 6, and will continue through this Friday, Nov. 13, including all DCS students who attend CTE programs. 

“At this time, we expect in-person instruction for all students to resume on Monday, Nov. 16,” says Houck. 

In a statement to DCS families, Houck said, “Any positive cases can cause a sense of anxiety, we can expect that this will not be our last positive case, however, if we continue to practice proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing face coverings, we will minimize risk of spread and exposure. Safeguarding the health and safety of our schools is our highest priority. Please continue to practice these safety precautions with fidelity so we can reduce the chance of infection to others.

“If you have any questions regarding this or other COVID-19 related concerns, please contact the District Office. You also will find helpful resources posted on the Yates County Public Health website (https://www.yatescounty.org/211/Public-Health).”

COVID-19 update as of Nov. 9

Since YCPH’s Friday report, 12 new cases have been reported, putting the total at 272 and setting the 7-day transmission rate average at 4.2%. Six cases are close contacts of previous positive cases, one case is a Penn Yan Central School District employee, and five cases have unknown exposure to anyone with COVID-19.

Penn Yan School has two staff and one student who have tested positive. One staff and the one student have recovered; one staff is in isolation and four staff and one student are in quarantine.